Wednesday, February 21, 2007

She's in the Army Now

Baby E is commando crawling now. We first caught her doing it on Sunday at church. This evening I put her down on the kitchen floor with a basket of toys (I have these baskets in every room she is normally in) and I started making dinner (which was a delicious cauliflower gratin. Dh is away on business so normal meal rules are out the window). She decided the kitchen was boring and commando crawled right out. She crawled to the sliding glass door in the dining room and banged on that for a while. Then she crawled over to a box of crap Dh has in the dining room (no comment on that) and tried to get into it. Then she waved her feet around in the air and yelled to herself. Every now and then I leaned over the counter to say, "Hi!" and she smiled adorably at me. She entertained herself for a good forty minutes. It was great.

Baby E used to be the great self-entertainer. She would sit and play with a basket of toys for an hour. But concurrent with her new mobility is a lower threshold for boredom. Now I am lucky if her toy basket keeps her entertained for ten minutes. She much prefers getting into things or coming over to see what I am doing. "It's laundry, Baby E. Laun-dry."

This presents something of a dilemma for me. Dh and I discussed this recently and decided I am what could be termed a Lazy Homebody. When E was younger, I could go three days without leaving the house. Not even to take the garbage out. Literally, inside the house the entire time. And I was okay with that. By the fourth day, I needed out, but I definitely have hermit-ish tendencies. Being a SAHM dovetailed perfectly, I thought. But quite frankly, Baby E is easier to care for now when we are out and about, not holed up at home. She loves to look at people, things, ceiling fans. So I find myself inventing fake errands. "Well, Baby E, we desperately need a 10" springform pan. Let's go!" It's kind of weird to be out so much, but also kind of fun, because she does behave herself, and everyone is always smiling at her and thus by extension at me, which is nice. And we didn't find that pan today, but that's okay, it can just be tomorrow's Urgent Errand! You see, I actually totally need the pan to make a Raspberry Coffee Cake. Which I need to make to use up the raspberry puree left over from the Cheesecake of Love.

Baby E is really horking the food down right now. Everyone and their sister seems to be making their own baby food, so I kind of felt like a garbage-producing, money-wasting schmuck, especially since I'm a SAHM. So eh, what the heck. I decided to start making Baby E's food myself. The main reason actually being that with the amount she eats right now, she'd eat us right into the poor house. She eats the Gerber 2nds mixed with oatmeal or rice cereal. She currently eats 2 2-packs a DAY, and here in Oregon those puppies cost 94 cents a pop. So. I bought Blender Baby Foods because I want my hand held through this entire process, dang it! Then I went to my local produce store ("Where You Won't Get Slapped in the Face For Being Fresh") and bought tons. Which did not even cost that much $$. I made carrots last night and am quite pleased with how they turned out. Plus now I get to feel all virtuous because not only am I making E's food from scratch, I am even supporting my local farming community by shopping at the produce store. Ha ha

On a completely random note, I'm interested to see who wins the Democratic nomination. I don't think the Republican one is much of a mystery. I'll eat my hat if McCain doesn't get it. But the Democratic side is more interesting at the moment. Clinton seems to have lots of D.C. support, but Obama has all the glamorous support (i.e., Hollywood). I read the fawning article on Clinton in the November Atlantic Monthly. But I think Obama appeals more to the younger crowd.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

In Which I Get a Break Just in Time

The cheesecake of love. Truth be told, the glaze did not "set" as the recipe indicated it would. So it looks funky. But! How did it taste? Well, it was huge and is now almost gone! Creamy, raspberry-y, yummy!

Crankiness did arrive. Thursday & Friday were not so fun. Dh gave me a break Friday midday - when I got back, his eyes were full of newfound appreciation for me - "I couldn't get anything done with her!" - I just smiled beatifically. Thinking, 'And yet I keep our house (mostly) clean & picked up, stay on top of the laundry and make dinner for your monkey butt!'

Dh bought the above boat early Friday evening. It's ugly, isn't it. Apparently function trumps form in situations like this. Ha ha He is very excited to go fishing in his new (used) boat. He found one with actual seats specifically for me, to make it more comfortable, so that I'll go with him sometimes, which was sweet of him. And smart, since seat comfort makes a crucial difference to me. I want to find an infant life vest for Baby E so we can go out as a family.

We went out Friday for our late V Day celebration - to the fabulous Italian restaurant conveniently located just down the road. Then we scared the babysitter by arriving home way early to change. Ran out again and watched Breach, which I quite enjoyed.

Finished Killing Floor by Lee Child. Another ridiculous Jack Reacher novel. I can't quite explain why I keep reading them.*

*And if you think I've been reading just too darn much recently, well, I have. I'm on a BIG reading kick right now.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day!

Baby E decided to ring in V Day with some amazing feats:
1) She sprouted her first tooth.
2) She is officially de-swaddled.

1) This morning while nursing the baby, I felt a little bite from her. (Thankfully, she rarely bites.) This bite felt a bit different. It had an edge. My gut said to investigate. So I stuck my finger in her mouth, and sure enough, a tiny tooth had just barely broken the surface of her gums! I ran a self-check and didn't really feel sad (as I was expecting to) but rather excited for my little baby who is quickly growing up.
The wonderful thing is, I had no idea she was teething. Her fussiness during dinner is more understandable in retrospect. But yesterday she didn't drool, cling, crank. She slept through the night just like normal. (Of course, she isn't done yet, obviously. Time for all of that, I suppose.) But really, her behavior was barely changed. So ya-hooo!!

2) This picture was taken just now during her afternoon nap:

That's right. I've finally got her off the swaddling. Yes!!! We did one arm out for what felt like forever (but was probably two and one-half weeks). Then both arms out for about a week and a half. And then today after her early morning nurse, and during both naps, no swaddling!!!! I've learned my lesson. Next baby I'll start the de-swaddle process much earlier.

For Dh for Valentine's Day I made a labor-intensive treat - a raspberry cheesecake with chocolate crust and raspberry glaze. The glaze is setting right now, then I'll be able to take the springform pan off. If I remember, I'll take a pic. I hope Dh likes it. It has marscapone instead of sour cream, so it's rich, not tangy. I don't know if he'll go for that. Hopefully!!!

We are going out Friday for V Day because 1) Finding a babysitter on Valentine's Day? Yeah right. 2) Getting a reservation will be much easier.

Just finished Mrs Fytton's 'Country Life'. Enjoyable escapism. Though highly improbable ending.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Snow Flower & the Secret Fan

I started this book kind of lackadaisically. Then I reached the section where Lily's feet are bound, and I was hooked.

This peek into rural nineteenth century China is both fascinating and horrifying. Fascinating: the women-only written language nushu; socioeconomic relations (Lily marries up, Snow Flower marries down - their friendship is seriously strained); gender relations (imagine meeting your husband for the first time on your wedding day. Then conjugal visits a few times a year until you get pregnant - only then do you move in to stay - your "worth" is proven). Horrifying: foot-binding description; the winter hidden in the mountains, people dropping like flies; women="worthless branches" on the family tree.

I liked it much more than The Bonesetter's Daughter by Amy Tan - I don't do well with that much depressing stuff in one swoop. Conversely, Snow Flower contains much that is beautiful and joyous - the terror, sadness, and frustrated potential is almost balanced out. Almost, because it remains a very sad story. Two thumbs up, and much thanks to katezmom (aka Katie's mom, for recommending it!

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Painful Admission

My husband has been away on business this week. Monday I didn't want to go anywhere, no one was coming around, my husband was in another state. I only nominally got dressed, and wore no makeup.

So I finally had to admit it. I don't actually wear makeup just for myself. I wear it for other people.

I have maintained to myself, for years, that I wear makeup for me. But it's not true. I wear makeup basically every day, I make sure to check my blush status before Dh gets home from work.* I'm not sure why. Dh sees me in the morning, completely makeup-less. Darling delusional that he is, he says I look the same with or without it. Sometimes he guesses I'm wearing makeup when I'm not, or the reverse, so I think he honestly can't tell the difference. Not sure how that's possible. Ha ha

I guess I just don't like admitting that I am insecure enough to need makeup when interacting with others. But I have actually gotten better. About a month ago, I went to the store with no eye makeup on! And a couple weeks ago, I went to church, and was half-an-hour into the 3-hour service, when I realized that I had put on all my makeup except mascara. And despite having the mascara in the diaper bag, I was just too lazy (and, um, secure?) to go to the bathroom and put it on.

*Two of my brothers and I inherited my mother's fair, fair skin. Which also features NO color in the cheeks. Fortunately, I have blush at my disposal. No such luck for my brothers, suckas!